[This is a letter from Li Xia during her last year in middle school]
My name is Li Xia and I am a girl with a troubled childhood though thats not the best way to describe it.
They say that childhood should be the best time of our lives, but Ive been handed some ill fate. Every day, I become familiar with my own tears and nightmares. I hear my fathers coughing regularly. When there are storms outside and rain hits our windows, I sink deeper into sadness, often thinking that I must be living in a movie. Sometimes, I imagine I am at the north pole where there is no one and it is just cold. I search for warmth.
Ive innocently thought that by acting girly and sweet in certain ways, I could win the favor of those around me and life could be easier. It isnt true! We have to keep putting our heads down and working. I would often look at my mom while her back was turned towards me and wonder what she was thinking but never saying. Would things change if she voiced her thoughts more?
As summer passed, I realized that I needed to go to school. I ran to my mom asking her to get out of the house and get to the school yard. I felt her heart pounding against my head as I hugged her tightly. She said yes. She said it softly and reluctantly, and she wasnt exactly happy. But after a while, she came back to me and handed me one yuan to take with me to school, then rushed me off. I got notebooks and pens at school, and I was eagerly going to and from school each day. But as time passed, I noticed my mom had more and more wrinkles on her face.
In my house, my mom works the hardest. My dad is lucky to have picked her as his wife. She attends to everyone, from me to my grandpa. She fills in all the voids.
As I got older and needed more money for school, it became harder for us to make do. I still remember when I needed 50 yuan for school but after many days, my mom returned with only 30. Without any other choices, I had to return to school 20 yuan short. I was extremely fortunate that my teacher actually paid the difference for me. Hobbling slowly, I made it to class registration. I owe it to my teachers and fellow students who supported me through that, allowing me to go to school without worrying my family about the money.
Now, at the last year of middle school, I am no longer haunted by nightmares and I am happy to work towards graduation. Perhaps, after working hard at school and pushing ahead, I can dig myself out of this hole and move upwards.
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